Though a trio of exceptional singles have already provided a powerful and thrilling insight into the new album from British band Tess of the Circle, it still has not stopped Amplify from surprising and impressing beyond expectations. The eleven tracks making up the band’s second full-length offers virulent roars and irresistible croons, and a collection of rock ‘n’ roll fuelled songs which leap with zeal and passion at ears and imagination.
Rising in 2013 within the British Independent Collective, an artistic union of friends and talent in various mediums formed by singer/songwriter/guitarist Tess Jones, Tess Of The Circle soon sparked potent attention from fans and media alike with debut album Thorns. Jones’ songs soon found regular airplay which has continued since, especially with those recent singles. The past couple of years have been especially busy and successful for the band; that national radio support leading to a double figure amount of live sessions backed by a stage presence which has seen the band play five shows at Glastonbury, sub-headline the 2015 Acoustic Festival of Britain’s second stage, and headline Bear Gryll’s Festival in London. Such the might and majesty of the Gavin Monaghan (Editors, Robert Planet, Lemmy, Ryan Adams, Grace Jones) produced Amplify, all before seems like just being the prelude to bigger and bolder things for the Oxford hailing band; bigger success sparked by a release which it would not surprise if it emerged as an album of the year contender for a great many come December.
With guitarist Lee Clifton, bassist Ben Drummond, and drummer Paul Stone, alongside Jones, Tess Of The Circle get right down to business with opener Love Is the Drug That You Crave. As potent and contagious as first time heard as a single, the song is soon filling ears with the distinctive voice of Jones and scythes of guitar within an electronic shimmer. The relatively controlled start soon erupts into a feisty burst of energy and bait soaked hooks; a two prong coaxing repeated before the track hits a tenacious and rousing stroll. It is quite simply a blaze of melodic and rhythmic infectiousness; a bracing stomp only given greater depth by the great backing vocals around fiery textures cast by guitars and keys.
It takes little time for the variety within Amplify to emerge; from The Cars meets John Butler Trio feel of the first song, a Gary Numan air colours the following I’m Not Ashamed, though it is a spice predominantly cast by the vocal tone of Jones. Nevertheless, a great range of emotive and rhythmic shadows wrap the energetic canter of the song, adding weight and intrigue to the hazier lures of guitars and harmonies. As its predecessor, it takes little time to get fully involved with the grungy encounter, a swift persuasion matched by You Take Me Out of My Head and its thumping slice of bullish hard rock and anthemic rock ‘n’ roll. From its fiery jangle and imposing rhythms, the song demands attention, rewarding the submission with addictive hooks and beguiling grooves courted by the delicious throb of Drummond’s bass. Riffs are equally as formidable and persuasive; the track the perfect blend of aggression and seduction with blues enterprise for further drama.
A chance to relax is provided by the emotive croon of Believe (Into Her Arms), though ears and imagination are as busy as ever in being beguiled by the outstanding encounter. With blues hues lacing the guitars and a gravelly texture enjoyably coating Jones’ vocals, the song mesmerises as skittish rhythms entice. Even in its balladry, the track offers a catchiness which is impossible to resist as our hips and throats can attest to before they are given an even greater workout by the Nirvana-esque incitement of Mother Daughter Son. The track leaps and pokes with matching intensity; stirring up appetite and spirit with its slightly volatile revelry in a persuasion more than matched by Digging At My Bones. Like a tango, the song twists and turns, ebbs and flows in its unpredictable drama and enterprise. Emotionally more than physically tempestuous, the track uncages a theatre of sound and invention which gets right under the skin, tapping into the instincts for heart rousing rock ‘n’ roll.
The excellent Face the Changes flirts with a REM scented adventure next, its rock pop contagion a gentle but inescapable tempting, whilst Drowning Without You as good as steals the whole show with its dark and swampy rock ‘n’ roll. The brooding twang of the guitar is manna for the ear with extra spice provided by the provocative mystique infested melodies. The song nags the senses, seduces the imagination, and flirts with body and soul from start to finish, standing as album favourite with consummate ease even in the company of seriously impressing companions.
The heart blues serenade of Summer Rain is next, holding ears and enjoyment firm before allowing The Waves Break Us Down to share its intimate ballad wrapped in emotive strings and vocal melancholy. Both songs make compelling persuasions whilst adding fresh shades of creative colour to Amplify; one final hue offered by the closing beauty of This Higher Ground and its folk rock embrace of intimate sentiment and lively endeavour.
Amplify is quite sensational, not only living up to the promise of its temptation laying singles but revealing numerous more sides and imagination to the songwriting and sound of Tess of the Circle. It is not a must check out album recommendation we offer but a must have suggestion.
Amplify is out now via Vintage Voice Records on iTunes and other stores.
Pete RingMaster 26/04/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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